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Old 05-24-2016, 01:02 PM   #953
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CruizinDux...The solar charges comes with clips that attach to the batteries. They are about 10 feet long, so, there is some flexibility in being able to move them around during the day to maximize the benefits from the moving sun.

Steve, thanks. That seem a very reasonable length.

Bob
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:28 AM   #954
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For anyone that has installed a Progressive Dynamics charger (PD4655) does it sound like an old computer hard drive? I can't really tie it to a fan turning on or off...
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:50 AM   #955
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The fridge fan maybe? If so details on replacing are here and elsewhere. Trip going OK?
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:08 AM   #956
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Mine is completely silent 99% of the time. There have been a few times where we hear a fan, and if I remember correctly this was when bulk charging the batteries after being nearly depleted.

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For anyone that has installed a Progressive Dynamics charger (PD4655) does it sound like an old computer hard drive? I can't really tie it to a fan turning on or off...
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:20 AM   #957
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The fridge fan maybe? If so details on replacing are here and elsewhere. Trip going OK?
I didn't think of the fridge fan. I'll check that next.

The trip is going wonderfully; the alternator broke on my 10 year old 4 runner the first day so I got a new alternator...attached to a 2016 Tundra. The 4Runner was a great SUV for ten years but you could definitely tell the trailer was back there and I wasn't impressed with it's towing abilities in the small foothills in Missouri. Coincidentally, we broke down in the same town we bought Chinook.

We stopped at the Airstream factory but didn't know it closed at 4.... So we just swung through the lobby. Picked up a sticker and a photograph of Chinook with the plant in the background.

More to follow...

Once I get to some reliable wifi I'll post some pictures. The 16" Michelins (and their ability to go above 65 MPH) have been a great adjustment.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:29 AM   #958
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Natures Head Installation on 20 footer

Folks,

Some of you may recall that I had asked if anyone here had installed a Natures Head composting toilet installation on their 20 footer, and all I heard was crickets. So I surmised that no one had done so.

I've decided to do it and I have been taking photos along the way in the hope that this will help some of you in the future.

One of the disadvantages we have as 20 footer owners is that our Black water tank is wholly inside out trailers and as such we have a substantial pedestal upon which out toilets are installed. The reason for the pedestal is to house, at least partially, the black water tank.

Most of the other Airstream installations I have seen have been pretty straightforward because they had simply been able to remove the existing toilet, cap the waste hole and then install the new composting toilet right over the waste hole. This is certainly doable on the 20 footers also, but this will result in a VERY tall toilet seat, so much so that the toilet seat will be at the same level as the bathroom counter top. I've posted some pictures below to show what that looks like.

This will necessitate the use of some sort of step stool in order to both get up on the toilet and to prevent your feet from dangling.

While this is doable, in my opinion this is not really an acceptable solution.

So I've embarked on removing the pedestal and black water tank from my 20 footer in order to install my composting toilet at a normal height.

Before I go any further, I just want to let you know that I have not yet completed that process. Removing the black water tank and pedestal is no trivial piece of work. As this point, because I have an upcoming trip, I am going to temporarily install the toilet on top of the existing pedestal, and then probably next week tackle the removal of the pedestal and black tank.

Here are some pictures of the process so far:


Here is the original Toilet


Here is the water connection to the toilet as well as the vent for the black water tank


Another View of the water connection. i used a pex tube cutter to cut the water line going to the toilet. Make sure you have plenty of rags to soak up the water you will have coming out of the hose. No matter how much I drained the lines, I still had quite a bit of water come out.


Removing the toilet was very easy, just unscrew the two nuts on the side of the bowl and remove. This exposes the toilet flange.


Removing the toilet flange was a royal pain, once I was able to remove it I realized why. The flange was a extension that then screws on the top of the black water tank and when this was installed they put some sealant around the area where the flange screws to the tank. I was able to unscrew the flange by first using a hammer and a nail set tool (using the blunt side on the plastic) to nudge the flange somewhat loose. This was VERY slow going. Notice the rag I placed in the hole to prevent the black tank smell from over powering me. I did clean out the tank as well as I could, but there was still quite a power aroma emanating from the tank.


To speed up the process I then placed the back the screws that are used to hold the toilet in place and used the handle of the hammer to continue unscrewing the flange. The sealant had a very tight hold on the flange.


Finally got the flange out, you can see the tank here with the opening.


Put a 3" plug on the black tank.


Next I put a pex cap on the line that was feeding the old toilet. Working with pex is typically easy, especially compared with copper or PVC, but working with pex in tight spaces is truly challenging as the pex compression tool handles spread out pretty far.


Next I am going to saw the black water vent pipe and I am going to attach this barbed connector to the vent pipe going to the roof, and the vent tube coming from the composting toilet will connect to the barbed end of this.




Here are 3 views of the composting toilet resting on top of the pedestal. The toilet is not attached yet, but you can see how high this toilet will end up if you simply install it on top of the pedestal.

The installation of the toilet on the pedestal is temporary. We are headed out this weekend and need a working toilet. Next week (or later depending on how soon I can schedule the woodwork that will need to be done, more on this below), I am going to hack into the pedestal. Despite trying to figure out a way to remove the pedestal while keeping it intact, I have not been able to figure out how to do that. Seems impossible to do. I can't even figure out how they installed this unless they installed it BEFORE the shell which seems just as impossible. So I will have to hack it off. Then go about removing the black tank.

Despite the fact that the black tank goes under the shower, I am pretty confident that I will be able to pull it out. The tank does not seem to be attached to anything other than the drain pipe, the vent pipe and the flange pipe, so right now I can move it quite a bit. If for some reason I am not able to simply pull it out, I am going to have to hack into it and take it out in pieces. I am very much hoping to avoid this as I am sure this will be very unpleasant. I am going to do one more black tank rinse using bleach this time to get it as clean as I can in case I do need to hack into it.

After the tank is removed, I will need to have a new pedestal/base made and installed. I am currently talking to a few finish carpenters & cabinet makers to see what they can do for me. I want it to look good. In addition to a new pedestal/base, they will have to also create something on both sides of the toilet make it all look finished. I plan on working a bit on the little mess if pex piping and vent pipe on the back right to eliminate the chintzy aluminum panel that was originally there covering the vent pipe and more.

I am really hoping that whomever I get to do this work can do it quickly, as I don't want to be without the trailer for too long.

I will follow up with more posts on the progress, both in removing the black water tank and the finished woodwork.

Hope this is of interest to some of you, and feel free to ask any questions.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:45 AM   #959
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Thanks for this post! Very informative. I had considered installing a Nature's Head in my old airstream and was impressed with the reviews. I will follow your project with interest.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:51 AM   #960
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Thanks J for the update. You have temporarily taken the use of the word "Throne" to a hole new level! Hopefully no one will be walking by that little window as someone is sitting down.



If you can move the black tank around it is probably not attached under the shower, but it's bottom flange should be held down somehow IMO, maybe by some clips to which you have access?

I am pretty sure that the bathroom is assembled with the shower going in first, then the black tank and toilet, then the sink vanity, followed by the wall behind the sink, and finally the rear dinette seat (left as viewed from the fridge "hall").

My logic stems from the buried location, under the sink counter, of the plastic vacuum breaker in the black water back flush system -- the one I want to upgrade to the brass one. I just don't see any way to make the swap other than to remove the dinette seat and the sink vanity case and counter. Next fall or winter!

You are a brave soul to start this project now !!!


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Old 05-25-2016, 12:00 PM   #961
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Thanks for the report waldosgone, that was some expensive alternator! Sounds like you made a good investment for a secure future driving in Alaska. The right tool for the job.

Tundra . . . Chinook . . . Alaska . . . Yeah, that's the ticket!

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Old 05-25-2016, 12:05 PM   #962
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Thanks J for the update. You have temporarily taken the use of the word "Throne" to a hole new level! Hopefully no one will be walking by that little window as someone is sitting down.
No worries about that, I've installed "frosted" decals on the little windows, these let light in but you can't see inside.

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If you can move the black tank around it is probably not attached under the shower, but it's bottom flange should be held down somehow IMO, maybe by some clips to which you have access?
I really do not think it is attached to anything, I can move the thing quite a bit. i think that once I disconnect the drain pipe I will be able to pull that guy out pretty easily.


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I am pretty sure that the bathroom is assembled with the shower going in first, then the black tank and toilet, then the sink vanity, followed by the wall behind the sink, and finally the rear dinette seat (left as viewed from the fridge "hall").

My logic stems from the buried location, under the sink counter, of the plastic vacuum breaker in the black water back flush system -- the one I want to upgrade to the brass one. I just don't see any way to make the swap other than to remove the dinette seat and the sink vanity case and counter. Next fall or winter!
I can see that vacuum breaker, definitely not very accessible. It might be replaceable if you took out your toilet, but, the real problem would be the pex rings. There would be no way to clamp some rings in there with the space being so tight.

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You are a brave soul to start this project now !!!
Definitely not the best time to be doing this work, but I had my trailer stored for the winter away from home making it very difficult to do the work during that time. Not sure if I am going to do that again. I take the opportunity during the long winter here in Maine to do many repairs and upgrades.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:34 PM   #963
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VIN Number Location

Can anyone tell me where the VIN number is stamped on our 20FC's? I need to get mine verified so I can register it in my State.

Thanks much!
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:41 PM   #964
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Our 2014's VIN is on a white sticker on the street side near the front left corner, between the rock guard and the water heater cover.
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Old 05-25-2016, 12:44 PM   #965
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Thanks! I can't recall seeing it...I will take a look this evening when I get home.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:11 PM   #966
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It is also stamped on the left side of A frame, in our 2012.
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